By Franklin Sanders
Remember General Nathan Bedford Forrest at the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads, 147 years ago, 10 June, 1864, between here and Tupelo, Miss.. Forrest was the greatest military commander Tennessee ever produced, the greatest the South and North America ever produced, and perhaps the greatest the world ever produced. This was Forrest’s most brilliant battle, perfect in every respect, defeating twice his number, but strategically it was an utter disaster.
Forrest never should have been in north Mississippi. He should have let the Yankees have Tupelo and ridden to Middle Tennessee where he could tear up Sherman’s supply lines into Georgia — where he could change the war’s outcome.
Over the last 50 years conservatives have remained stubbornly blind to strategy. Like the blind Indian wise men, everyone has his own view of the elephant. The one who felt the leg declared the elephant was like a pillar, the one who felt his tail like a rope; the one who felt his trunk, like a tree branch; the one who felt his side, like a wall; the one who felt his ear, like a fan, and the one who felt his tusk, like a pipe. But nobody sees the whole elephant.
We must begin to think holistically, in terms of the whole system, because things work together. Simply restoring gold and silver coin as legal tender won’t change anything. In fact, restoring hard money all by itself will backfire, and make things worse, resulting in a backlash that sets us back another 100 years.
Everything works together, and sound money won’t work as long as government and central bank control the money and the economy, and when half the economy lives off government spending. To fix the money issue, we have to restore economic freedom. We have to create all the conditions needed for a new economy to grow up alongside the old and to replace it.
Reforming one single issue won’t help, because that issue belongs to the larger problem. We face a beast built up over the last 150 years, a beast of state power and control through regulation and fiat money that has crushed our ancient freedoms, and stolen most of our freedoms under common law and the constitution. We must attack the beast from all sides. We have to kill him by a 1,000 paper cuts, until we can reach his carotid artery and deliver the killing stroke, but always with our eyes on the chance for that killing stroke.
Three freedoms must be restored:
➤ Monetary Freedom
➤ Economic Freedom
➤ Food Freedom
Without restoring all, we won’t restore any.
Face the facts: The worst has already happened. Socialism has been imposed on us, all ten planks of Communist Manifesto. Go read them and you’ll see: we already live under socialism. We have met the communists, and they are us.
The process began when the War Between the States destroyed state sovereignty and centralized power in Washington. Then around the turn of the 19th century socialism mushroomed in the so-called Progressive Era with regulation of commerce, industry, professions, food, drugs, and health. World War I extended government economic control, and under New Deal fascism it metastasized to the economy’s entire body as it cartelized industries, crafts, unions, and professions under government control. World War II pushed socialism and government control even deeper into the economy, and after the war agriculture was slowly stripped and centralized and American industry shipped overseas.
All these changes have so altered the U.S. economic, political, monetary and social system that it has become a monster, not the shining tower of freedom Americans imagine, but a nightmare beast of government power, a “boot stamping in a human face forever.”
Do I exaggerate? The US economy is addicted to government spending. They have not taken us over, they’ve bought us off.
➤ Half of all income in the US comes from government spending. In Tennessee 19% from direct state and local spending, 33% from direct federal spending, 52% in all. In some states government spending contributes over 60% of state income. And I haven’t even taken into account the federal insurance, loan guarantees, and all of that, just direct spending. We haven’t been taken over, we’ve been bought off. We have no economy, if half of all the workers are paid to whittle, watch, investigate, indoctrinate, regulate, detect, suspect, correct, direct, supervise and write tickets to the other half.
➤ Agriculture has been shipped overseas and what’s left industrialized.
➤ Industrial production has been shipped overseas.
➤ Under the cover of health and safety, regulations have been imposed that either put out or shut out competition.
Where does wealth come from?
Remember this: All wealth begins with the things men take out of the ground. 20% mining, 80% agriculture. As $1 of agricultural income passes through the economy, it becomes $7 of national income.
But since WWII farmers have been driven off the land, farm income has disappeared, and American has been able to maintain its standard of living only by substituting debt for production.
If the damage were only economic we might live with it, but it’s not. How do you measure the damage? Look at the health statistics, heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s. Stand outside WalMart and watch the people walking in. Obesity is epidemic. This is the health cost of industrializing agriculture and driving small farmers out of business.
Proof? Travel through east and middle Tennessee as my wife and I have the last five years, and you’ll see no dirt turned over. No crops, little livestock, only abandoned silos, tombstones of dead dairies and murdered prosperity. For 200 to 250 years this land has been farmed, but no more. The once productive “hog and hominy” state no longer feeds itself.
Twenty years ago Tennessee boasted 10,000 dairies, but today fewer than 500 survive, and the milk you drank this morning probably came from California 1,692 miles away or Florida 1,200 miles away, milked from cows kept in CAFOs standing up to their hocks in manure all their lives. Can that milk possibly be more wholesome and cheaper than we can raise it next door in Tennessee?
The economy has been transformed
America was once a nation of fairly self-sufficient local economies, but has been centralized into one national planned economy.
How did all this happen?
➤ By deliberate government economic policy, by trade policy, tariff policy, and by monetary policy.
➤ By hijacking the monetary system and replacing public money (gold and silver) with private money (bank credit).
➤ By imposing regulations on all economic activity and forbidding competition.
➤ By outlawing economic freedoms that we have enjoyed since King Alfred the Great (died 899 a.d.).
Simply pecking tiny bites out of government spending will change nothing. Even before a massive spending reduction will work, we must destroy the present Keynesian model that promises governments can create prosperity by borrowing and spending. We must destroy that Keynesian idea.
Today that model is dying, perishing before your eyes today. Look at Greece. Iceland. The United States. The government debt and its burden are too burdensome to be borne. The model is dying.
By concentrating the economy, relying on debt, and begging for jobs from outside industries this government control and chamber of commerce economic model has brought us to a dead end. Local economies, initiative, and production have been replaced by debt, government jobs, and government control.
Local economies must be re-built in parallel to the dying economy, simply ignoring the government economy and replacing it by superior production, prosperity, justice, and stability.
The foundation is food freedom
And the foundation for those local economies is local agriculture and food freedom. It starts there.
You don’t need any outside jobs or borrowed money because right this instant you are standing right now, every town, every county, every city, on acres of diamonds.
Yes. Every man, woman, and child in every home in Tennessee spends $1,800 every year on food and drink. In Jackson alone with 65,211 people, that amounts to $117 million spent on food every year. Can you build a local economy on a $117 million cash flow?
No. Why not? Because the state of Tennessee won’t let you.
➤ Because farmers are robbed of their common law right to make sales at the farm gate.
➤ Because the State and farmers’ markets require farmers get a license before they allow them to sell their goods.
➤ Because the State department of agriculture forbids farmers to grow and process and sell chickens or raw milk or hams or bacon or jam.
➤ Because regulation forbids them from competing.
Never forget this. Set aside all the good intentions, rationalizations, and justifications about health and safety and evil producers who will poison their customers unless government regulates them. That’s all a cover-up.
The real purpose of all regulation is to stifle competition.
The real purpose of all regulation is to stifle competition.
The real purpose of all regulation is to stifle competition.
Think about it. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was founded in 1906 in a propaganda firestorm about food additives. Government must regulate, or we will all be poisoned!
How many additives in use in 1906 has the FDA since banned? A hundred? Fifty? Twenty? Twelve?
Not one. Not a one. Oh, they’ve banned others since then, but not one in use in 1906.
Ask yourself what chance you have of getting e. coli poisoning from hamburger when all the hamburger in the country is processed by six meatpackers. Would you take your chances with those six, or with your local butcher and farmer whom you know and trust?
Never forget: within twenty nano-seconds of regulations passing, the regulated always capture the regulators. So regulators and regulation always work for the big corporations with political pull, and their only goal is to stifle competition. Not only in Food Freedom we must roll back regulation, but in every business, undertaking, craft, profession, or job, so that we can build healthy, prosperous, just local economies taking care of each others’ needs, instead of buying rotten milk from California and tainted hamburger from Chicago. Local agriculture merely forms the backbone of a local economy. Once it is established, it generates an income that revives trade throughout the rest of the local economy.
So here is our first strategic goal: relentlessly roll back regulations. Year after year we must hammer on the legislature, returning to demand economic freedom for all, and that means relentlessly rolling back regulation. Restore economic freedom, no matter how long it takes.
Food freedom and full farm gates sales
Henry Kissinger is supposed to have said, “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”
Food freedom guarantees the only and ultimate human right: the right to life. If you aren’t free to eat, you can’t live. If government controls all the food and it must travel from a continent away, then government controls your life, and ultimately can shut you off whenever they want. Food freedom is the ultimate freedom, and they have stolen it from us.
What is our goal and strategy? Full farm-gate sales freedom.
Restoring the farmer’s freedom to sell anything grown or processed on his own farm at his own risk and the consumer’s own risk. Scare you? Not me. I’ll take my risks with my local farmer whom I know over gigantic corporations whom I don’t know, and whose public relations spin-doctors thinks of e. coli outbreaks in terms of numbers dead rather than men, women, and children personally known.
Farm gate sales must include the farmer’s right to take part freely and without license, permit, or by your leave in any and all Tennessee farmers’ markets and to sell there anything produced on their own farms exactly as if they were selling it at their own farm gate and with the same right not to be subjected to sales tax, as the law already provides.
Food freedom includes freedom to eat, drink, or consume any food product without government interference or regulation, including most of all raw milk, butchered or cured meats, and prepared foods such as canned goods, jams, cakes, or bread.
The problem is not that gold and silver coin are not “legal tender”—they are already. Problem is that the people, courts and government treat them as if they weren’t legal tender, as if only fiat Federal Reserve notes (green paper bills and bank credit) were money.
From the beginning the Federal Reserve’s strategy has been to marginalize, remove, tax, and criminalize gold and silver money.
The courts have an instinctive systemic bias to follow that strategy. I’ve seen it in person over a 15 year struggle in local, state, and federal courts. It sent me to jail in the teeth of the law. The courts ignore plain law in favour of marginalizing, removing, taxing, and criminalizing gold and silver.
We’ll look in detail at theses overlooked freedom issues in Part II of this essay. Please come back, and send our link to your friends.
Franklin Sanders is publisher of The Moneychanger, a privately circulated monthly newsletter that focus on gold and silver and the application of Christianity to economics, culture and family life. We have subscribed to this newsletter for more than 20 years, and consider it a must read. F$99 a year. Franklin is an active trader in gold and silver (he’ll swap your green Federal Reserve rectangles and give you real money in return). He trades with savers and investors outside Tennessee. Subscribe to his daily price report and market commentary on the website.